Montana Tech is considering whether the use of its pool by the community and the students warrants an investment of nearly $450,000.

The Olympic-sized pool is housed in the HPER complex, but the pool is closed because it leaks.

“We’re trying to make a wise decision on whether or not we should invest in that,” Chancellor Don Blackketter said in a recent interview with The Montana Standard.

“It’s important for me as the chancellor to make sure that the pool is going to get enough use to justify that kind of money.”

The pool is an auxiliary item on Tech’s budget, meaning the university can’t use state money to fix or maintain it. However, state money could be spent on the pool to cover the cost for classes that use the pool as part of its curriculum.

One estimate prepared by Tech puts the cost of repairing the pool at $442,000 with an additional cost of $103,000 per year for maintenance. The estimated yearly total cost of maintaining the pool, including the 10-year repayment of the loan to cover the needed repairs, would be about $155,000, or about $12,000 a month.

Blackketter said one plan being considering would split theses costs between student fees and public-employee fees. The chancellor said Tech plans to solicit feedback from the students before it puts forth its recommendations to the Board of Regents in May.

Presently, Tech partners with the Butte YMCA, allowing Tech students to use the Y pool for free. The YMCA keeps taps on that usage and then charges it back to the university. Blackketter said the most recent monthly bill for Tech students using the YMCA pool was about $3,000.

— Reporter Francis Davis can be reached at francis.davis@lee.net

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